King of nothing

Boston’s DJ Kon rejects the crown, plus Millions and Bruno
By DAVID DAY  |  July 27, 2006

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MULTI-TASKING: Dorchester’s newly crowned “King of Diggin’ ” talks records and manages the dance floor.
“Hi, sorry to interrupt, are you going to play any ’80s?” a patron asks DJ Kon behind the decks at Middlesex Lounge. “Maybe,” he says. “Are you going to play ’80s?” she repeats. “ ’Cause that girl, she’s going to Africa.” “Well, I’ll be playing some African music,” he says with a smile. “What about just the song ‘Africa?’,” she asks. “I have that, we’ll see, I have a great cover of that, it’s a dub.” “That’s fine, can we get Toto tonight, though? . . . ‘We come from the land Down Under!!!’,” she yells. “Maybe,” Kon says calmly, “but that’s Men at Work.”

Dorchester’s own DJ Kon (a/k/a Christopher Taylor) plays clubs all around town, but occasionally he drops by the low-key Cambridge venue to spin “his favorites,” as it says on the bill. It’s a privilege, because he’s known around the world as a crate digger — an obsessive, irrepressible record fan who will don rubber gloves to find a lost gem. Such fanatics generally go unheralded, but this summer, the BBE label released a compilation of some of his favorites and called it Kings of Diggin’, putting the Boston native on the map as one of the pre-eminent music archeologists. “I hate that title, because I’m not a king of anything. An acronym for my name is King of Nothing. The CD series is ‘Kings of . . . ,’ whether it’s house or disco, and that’s respectable. But as for me: no. I’m a student of music, I like to learn new music every day, and that’s really what it’s about for me.”

An old Green Line graff artist and disco head, Kon has been compiling and trading rare vinyl for decades, hardly ever getting compensation when someone samples his finds. For a time, he sold some rarities directly to producers for hip-hop loops, but he got turned off pretty quickly. “I’ve consulted for some big people, but it’s not really worth it. You’re dealing with multi-million-dollar people who want to nickel-and-dime you. From the corporate executive standpoint, it’s like, ‘Well, what exactly are we paying him for?’ So it’s this whole chain of command. It’s kind of like playing yourself. It doesn’t work out in my favor. The money is really easy, but you’re providing a blueprint that could lead to millions of dollars on their end. I don’t really see that.”

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